Employees of Shell Nigeria have been alleged to be masterminds of the oil spills in the Niger Delta with the aim of earning money from the clean-ups.
This is revealed in a report produced by Friends of the Earth Netherlands Milieudefensie and Friends of the Earth Nigeria and also verified by an independent journalist at Zembla.
The report revealed that the oil spill clean-ups are organised by Shell in such a way that the oil spills seem to generate income for the local population.
In a press release jointly issued by FOE Nigeria and Netherlands, it was revealed that Shell employees are themselves involved in these oil spills in Nigeria which contradicts the picture that Shell paints as it places responsibility for the spills on rebels.
Corroborating this, residents of Ikarama community in the Niger Delta not only confirm that Shell employees hire residents to perpetrate spills, but also claim that everyone in the village has been approached.
“Many people are sensitive to this issue, because their fields and fishponds are often too polluted by oil to earn a living from.
“Someone who is hungry, is someone who consents,” a representative from the Ikarama community pointed out.
The extensive report disclosed that, “Shell employees, residents and clean-up companies are all working together. The employee points out where and when a spill should occur. It is usually young people who perpetrate the spills.
“Then a Shell employee hires a clean-up company from among the perpetrator’s acquaintances and afterwards, they divide the profits among themselves.
“At least 30 oil spills have been recorded in the Ikarama area over the past 10 years, according to Friends of the Earth Nigeria ERA.”
Friends of the Earth Netherlands Director, Donald Pols: ‘Shell always claims it’s not their responsibility: global warming, earthquakes in Groningen, oil spills in Nigeria. This research shows for the umpteenth time that Shell should look in the mirror more often. The big question now is how many of the countless oil spills were caused by Shell employees and why does Shell management continue to point the finger at others.’
Also, Acting Executive Director of Friends of the Earth Nigeria, Chima Williams said: “These disturbing findings have again confirmed what we have long suspected. Shell must own up to the destruction of the local community and made to pay heavily for these deliberate infractions”.
The report’s recommendations highlight how effective the protection of the pipelines by young people has been in the past. Friends of the Earth Netherlands also wants Shell to compensate the local population for the destruction they have endured.